Monday, May 31, 2010

More Poiret Savoir Faire

In incredible stark contrast to his fashions and design aesthetic Paul Poiret commissioned the Villa Poiret from the architect Robert Mallet-Stevens in 1924 -1925.

This seems to be a complete departure from everything that we tend to associate with Poiret and is a testament to his innate sense of style and savoir faire. It seems hard to even contemplate that Poiret had any serious intentions of even living here considering that the building is pure simplicity in itself, something which Poiret seemed to scorn. Everything for Poiret was over the top rich and vibrant and in excess. He excited in eastern exoticism, with colours and richness running headlong in abandon in clothing and interior design schemes.

However Poiret described the design as “United surfaces, sharp edges, sharp curves, polished materials, angles, clarity, order. This is my home and geometric logic " Seems hard to imagine Poiret ever saything this.

Unfortunately Poiret never occupied the villa as he and his company fell into bankruptcy. Only occupying the lodge pending completion until 1928, the villa was finally sold in 1930 (to pay debts) to the actress Elvira Popescu, who hired architect Paul Boyer to complete the project, distorting the original plans. Popescu occupied the villa until 1985, from when it was abandoned.

Luckliy it had been bought by a prominent industrialist and is being restored to its former glory. One can only imagine what Poiret would have done with the interior had he been financially able to live there. It could have been a turning point in his design aesthetic, which might have seen his fashion also evolve with the times, instead of dying an inglorious death.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Arrive with Savoir Faire

Since it is the weekend, I think we should all be jetting off to some exotic locale, with lots of panache and lots of luggage in tow.

Arrive in style with some savoir faire at any of these hotels. All too often now arriving at a hotel is a bit of a non event where we are greeted with bland interior design schemes trying to imitate a particular era or the local culture. However check into any of these hotels and you will be arriving in style, marvelling at the design, colour and impact of these lobbies.

I like grand lobbies, filled with lots of light and space, and oversize decoration and objet that lets you know that you are arriving somewhere important. The below from Holiday Inn Galleria Kuala Lumpur ( I know it is a Holiday inn, however they seem to do things so much better OS) is decorative and sheer simplicity itself, creating a stunning visual scene. The low cane seating and tables bring this down to a more intimate and human scale.

Same goes for the Okura in Tokyo. In which could have been a big empty room with a couple of chairs, the lighting brings the eye down, creating a more human space.

The G Hotel in George Town Malaysia again uses oversize lighting which enhances the natural wood tones of the floor and seating.

The e-filoxenia hotel in Kalamata Greece is a whimsical piece of fun, turning what could have been a rather impersonal space into a family living room avec child’s toys and wonderful seating.

The Sofitel Brisbane Australia is just wonderful modern simple elegance which is highly stylised, to create an almost Zen like interior.

The Baiyoke Hotel Bangkok uses bold 60’s style graphics on their elevators to create a visual impact that is second to none.

However not’s let forget 2 grande dames of hotels, le Maurice in Paris and the Peninsular in Hong Kong which let you know with lots of savoir faire that YOU HAVE ARRIVED!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Imari Faire

I love Imari patterned china. Imari being the collector’s name for a various type of porcelain and pattern which originated in the town of Arita in Japan. The design is full of rich oranges, blues gold and white which create an unmistakeable pattern which is instantly recognised as Imari. Along with the more familiar Chinese blue and white designs this is the quintessential Asian style.

18th Century Imari Plate from Japan
The designs have been interpreted down through the ages across several continents, with the ultimate European interpretation coming from Crown Derby in England. Other companies such as Coalport and Meissen have all had their own slant on the design.

Coalport Imari Bowl.

Two Crown Derby Plates
A dinner table looks absolutely fabulous set with Imari, however I do think it is more suited to decoration than to eating off. Food would get lost in the intricate designs and colours. That said a cup of tea out a Crown Derby Imari cup and saucer, elevates tea drinking to a whole new level. A level of sophistication and savoir faire that just cannot be beat.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

To Blog or not to Blog?

That is the question; recently I came across a series of photos and articles of THE definitive party of the 20th century. Now we are not talking Truman Capote’s Black and White party here. This party puts Truman’s little backyard bash into the category of “MMMmm it was OK”. Extravagance knew no bounds with this affair, which can also just push it over the edge of savoir faire into just plain old tacky. Another reason I am not sure about whether to blog or not is the sensitive political undertones of this bash and the organisers.

However, to give you all a teaser and maybe to garner some public opinion, here are a few of the details.

Festivities lasted for 3 days with royal guests being accommodated in a specially built tent city created by the interior design firm of Jansen, in the middle of a desert.

The guest list included countless royals, (close to 60 or 70) from various monarchies around the world, including Princess Anne, Grace of Monaco and King Frederick IX and Queen Ingrid of Denmark.

Numerous Presidents, Vice Presidents and Prime Ministers including Tito of Yugoslavia and the Spiro Agnews of the USA.

The event was catered for by Maxims of Paris which closed for an unprecedented 15 days to carry it off. The menu included quails eggs stuffed with caviar and peacocks stuffed with foie gras, which was eaten off china from Limoges, and glass wear from Baccarat, commissioned especially for the event.

Uniforms for various members of an Iimperial Household were created by Lanvin, and perhaps the greatest extravagance of all, 250 red Mercedes Benzes to chauffer guests from Airports etc.

So shall we go further on this one?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Savoir Faire for your Wrist!

Ladies have a look at these fabulous bracelets courtesy of Schiaparelli ! Just the thing to add a bit of savoir faire to your weekend! Of course they are faux bijoux, however who cares when you have this much style!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Carla Faire

Carla Zampatti along with Prue Acton and Trent Nathan formed the nucleus of the Australian Fashion industry way back in the 1960’s. Prue Acton gave it all up in the 80’s to devote all her energies to art and Trent Nathan retired leaving his label to languish only to be reduced to a shadow of it’s former self, however set for a revival. Only Carla Zampatti has soldiered on and succeed she has! There is always a possibility that an old label headed by the same designer over 40 years or so can seem stale and dated, however Ms. Zampatti goes from strength to strength, creating beautiful, elegant clothes with few gimmicks, that ooze savoir faire.

Born in Italy and immigrating to Australia in 1950 with her parents, she has bought Italian style to Australian fashion that translates well into the Australian lifestyle.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Subtle Savoir Faire

You have to admit that the French have unmistakeable savoir faire when it comes to just about everything. I love these two perfume advertisements one for Lanvin’s Arpege and the other for Guerlain’s Chant d’Aromes.

*One of the nicest things about French boys is French girls.

And the nicest thing about French girls is a great Guerlain perfume, Chant d’Aromes.

To be great, a perfume must do two things, it must express something for a woman that she would like to express herself; and it must say it in a way that can be understood by men.

For several years now, Chant d’Aromes has been speaking for thousands of English girls, French girls, Italian girls and to the young men in their lives.

It has to be saying something.
The sixties in France must have been a wonderful era, there were great changes on all fronts from politics to fashion, and with true French panache, it was all done with style, and a hint of sexual innuendo. Of course they were aware (quite early on) that sex sells, however they interpreted this factor of advertising with a touch of innocence that left it up to the consumer to create their own fantasies.

This understated form of advertising would be completely lost on today’s consumer, who really needs it spelt out so that they can fully grasp the message without thinking about it.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Illuminated Savoir Faire

I like well furnished rooms with style, elegance and panache. All too often these days our interiors are replicas of what we see on TV or magazines, lacking any real personal style or savoir faire. And lighting ………, what can I say? Down lights and pot lights seem to be deriguer, just adding to the overall blandness of today’s interiors. Lamps of good design seem even harder to come by with limited choice in design available, unless we are wanting depart with the equivalent of the GDP of a small African country.

I am lusting over the below examples that with their immaculate styling and panache will lift any room out of the doldrums. Admitted that most of these are from a different era than our own, one can only wonder what sort of visual impact would they have on today’s interiors.

Bronze Table Lamps

Candelabra Style Lamp
Pair of Lucite Table Lamps

Iron Coral Branch Chandaleir
Gaetano Sciolari Chandeleir

*All images coutesy Gustavo Olivieri.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Cutting Edge Savoir Faire

Yatagan – a Turkish sword used in Turkey from the 16th to the 19th centuries. They were
both weapons and works of art, incorporating elegant lines, and occasionally encrusted with semi-precious stones.

Yatagan – a male perfume launched by that esteemed Parisian perfume house of Caron in 1976. With a name that conjures up all the mystique and masculinity of the near east, Yatagan is elegant and discrete with a punch!

This is almost the definitive perfect cologne for men! (and women if they are feeling adventurous). The aromatics cut the air like a knife and then dry down to an incredibly sexy, almost pungent smell, that will see you continually sniffing your wrist just to remind you how incredible this is. Don’t be put off by the initial bitterness of the wormwood (another ingredient in Campari) as this has been offset with the brilliant composition of lavender and vetiver.

Other components are, Petitgrain, Patchouli and Leather.

I am closely guarding my retail source here in Toronto, however seek and ye shall find!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Stay Tuned

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